Gunnedah's Mackellar Rural Health Centre has permanently closed after being unable to find a permanent GP.
Mackellar Care Services chief executive officer Wayne Snelson announced the bad news on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Snelson told the Namoi Valley Independent the closure was "inevitable without a solution quickly coming forward". He said there were no permanent GPs available to hire, either.
"Myself and the board had a greater concern about keeping the facility open for an extended period of time due to the financial strain it was putting on the aged care side of the business," he said.
In terms of the next step for the building, the chief executive said he was "not privvy" to negotiations between key stakeholders.
"Several stakeholders remain in discussions regarding the ongoing operation of the medical centre," Mr Snelson said.
Next step for patients and staff
The last remaining staff member is weighing up her options on what to do now, but Mr Snelson said she was offered a position within the aged care business.
"She's been manning the facility and ensuring we can get the existing patient documents to them as required and wrapping up the business there," he said.
"We may have work for her here in the aged care business and she's just deciding what to do."
The chief executive couldn't comment on the current situation of patients, but said the company had made steps during the temporary closure to assist them in moving to another clinic.
"We sent letters out to all patients advising them to contact us so we could package their medical records, however we can't send them to another practice without their authority, or they can come and collect them themselves," Mr Snelson said.
"Numbers for the centre will be diverted to the Apex Road campus."
Mackellar Care Services' official statement
Mackellar Care Services today announced the permanent closure of the Mackellar Rural Health Centre due to ongoing shortage of key staff and lack of a permanent, sustainable solution for continued operation.
In 2017, Mackellar Care Services took over the then Gunnedah Rural Health Centre after it had been placed into administration, with the aim to rebuild the failed operation into its intended purpose of providing the Gunnedah community with a single access point for general medical and allied health services.
Throughout the month of October, Mackellar Care Services has kept the Mackellar Rural Medical Centre operating on a skeleton staff to support the activities of a small number of Allied Health professional and to assist its patients in transitioning to an alternate service.
Whilst several stakeholders remain in discussions re the ongoing operation of the Medical Centre, Mackellar Care Services Board of Directors has had to make the regrettable decision to permanently close and cease operating the facility and shift resources to its core Aged Care business.
It has proven to be challenging time over the last two years for the local community and Mackellar Care Services understand the uncertainty that has come about due to the medical centre again unable to provide a sustainable service. However, Mackellar Care Services remain committed to caring for our older people within our Alkira and Apex Road facilities.